I will never think of Trona in the same way again. Kerr McGee changed Trona. The 1970 strike changed Trona. Time changed Trona. My memories of Trona are childhood memories of wonderful teachers, Austin Hall, the club house, the sables and the fish pond at the railway office. I really don’t want the images of Trona this book has put into my head.
In 1970 I was working in San Bernardino and apparently I was so busy living my own life that I was barley aware of the strike in Trona. I can remember visiting my parents in Trona a short while after the strike was over. We sat in my mothers kitchen on Argus Ave. and I listened to them and my brothers talk about the things that happened during the strike. Some of the stories they told were different versions of the stories Paul Abrams tells about in his book. They were different versions of the stories that were on the news during the strike.
One of the stories we talked about while sitting at my mother’s kitchen was the fire at Zimmerman’s Lumber. I had forgotten all about the fire until recently and was doing research for a story I wanted to write about the stables. Someone I asked about the stables mentioned a fire in the barn. I wrote to Mary Bermani to ask her what she knew about the fire. Well, that was the wrong thing for me to do. Her memories were about the fire I had forgotten. The fire that changed her father’s and her families lives.
There were many families that lost all they had before the strike was over in spite of what this book implies. The strikers were sold out by their union and all I can say is that if corporations were people Kerr-McGee would have died and gone to hell.
I know that most of those that were involved have forgiven and forgotten. That is the way Trona people are. I also know that there will be some with long memories that will never forget or forgive. I am a big believer that forgiveness is very important but I also know that it is something that I often find hard to do.
I see Paul Henry Abram as the hero he makes himself out to be in this book. He wrote a good book. I enjoyed reading it. My only regret is that it may tear a scab off a wound that that will never totally heal.